The Stuff of 2011: Saving The Waterfront

Lord knows that for the most part, municipal politics in our city was pretty fucking depressing in 2011. But there were a few bright spots, and the battle over the future of Toronto's waterfront was one of them. The fight has been raging for more than 150 years, ever since the railroad companies of the mid-1800s won the right to cut the lake shore off from the rest of the city with belts of steel. But a new plan to develop the Port Lands and re-naturalize the mouth of the Don River is more than a little exciting: it's an opportunity for large-scale city planning that most metropolises can only dream of. And as it turns out, it's one that everybody whose last name isn't Ford can agree on. So when Doug started spouting off about a backroom deal he'd brokered to kill Waterfront Toronto's vision and build monorails and a Ferris wheel instead, even the right-wing city councilors publicly abandoned the Ford brothers. The result: the plan was saved and Rob and Doug tasted defeat on council for the first time. It was a turning point for the current administration and may very well prove to be one of the most important moments in the history of our city.


Image: Rendering of one part the plan for the Port Lands by Waterfront Toronto

You'll find the rest of our "Stuff of 2011" posts here. If there's something you enjoyed this year that you'd like to share, write something about it and email it to us at by December 21. We'll post some of our favourites.

Saving the waterfront was chosen by Adam Bunch, the Editor-in-Chief of the Little Red Umbrella and the creator of the Toronto Dreams Project. You can read his posts here, follow him on Twitter here, or email him at


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